Monday, March 9, 2009

Review Day (Tm)

Goal of the week: Operation get the grades done ahead of time and stop scrambling at the end of the grading period. Actually, let me rephrase that. Perhaps I should call it "For the love of everything Holy, Get A Handle On Your Grading Practices!" I've noticed that I don't really decide in advance how I'm going to grade things because I have to change up the assignments so much. I'm so new at teaching that I have to modify everything constantly. I know that now so that's ok. The secondary problem is that it drives my grading system bonkers. And me. And my sleep schedule as I try to figure this out. I'm going to try and put humpty dumpty back together again, but this is going to take some time to figure out.

Why can't everyone get A's? Seriously? I really hate the way modern grades are set up. It puts the emphasis on some number and not on how much they are learning.

Today was another Review Day for the Test for my kids. I love Review Days (Tm). The kids all get down to work and start acting like true academics. Well, not really but I can pretend. Actually, I did something different this time. I made some assignments due with the test because another teacher told me he did it that way to save himself the hassle. I find that it's not working. Most of my students can't remember their pencil, much less their lab report from a week ago. I couldn't either at that age. Ugh.

I think I won't make things due later unless they are notes. They need to learn how to keep their notes together. I may make them keep a note folder or notebook in the future, but not half-way through the second semester. Next semester would be a good idea.

Also, for reviewing for a test, I will never again give them a review sheet and say "this is not an assignment but just questions that you should know for the test." They don't do it if they think it's not an assignment. I was told to do it that way in graduate school, but my kids won't do anything unless they see the immediate payoff. I could probably be clever and think of a way around it, but it will take some creativity. I'm going to have to play with a lot of things in my classroom to get them where I like them and where the kids are empowered and learning to the best of their ability. Whoo... years of work and picking at things.

That's the ultimate question: how to get them invested in school without bribery?

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